Updated: The Definitive BlackBerry Bold versus iPhone 3G Browser Comparison (video)

34 Comments

iPhone 3G BlackBerry Bold Browser Speed test Screenshot

Update: Just got talking to a couple of our friends at RIM, who said they weren’t surprised by the results of our test. It turns out that the focus of RIM’s development for the new rendering engine in OS 4.6 was in stability, not performance, and the Waterloo crew is still working on speed optimization. What this means is that future OS updates from RIM will require additional speed tests.

While previous results had been contested, we hope to put the BlackBerry Bold versus iPhone 3G browser debate to bed. Taking some time with our brand-spanking-new Bold and QuicklyBored EIC, Kyle McInnes’ iPhone 3G, we put the two beasts through some browsing hoops to see who can get through the fastest. We tested on Wi-Fi only, 3G-only, both with and without JavaScript enabled. Sadly, our results are pretty conclusive – the iPhone’s browser is faster.

To be fair, it’s not by much – maybe a two to three second delay, depending on the site, but it’s enough to notice the difference. We’re also running on BIS, so don’t have enterprise servers doing a lot of the compression for us. The Bold’s browser is still a huge upgrade for BlackBerry, and definitely more enjoyable than what I was using on the Pearl. While we’re calling this test definitive (we ran a series of five tests using multiple sites each time), your mileage may vary – if you’ve got both devices in hand, take some time to wipe the caches and run a few tests. We’d love to hear if our results match up, and love even more to hear if they don’t.

  • Neil

    You didn’t mention at any time during the video whether you had Javascript enabled or not?

    From what I’ve read on other sites when you’ve got JS enabled that’s when the Bold really starts to choke. Can you confirm (try visiting a website that is JS heavy)?

  • Neil

    You didn’t mention at any time during the video whether you had Javascript enabled or not?

    From what I’ve read on other sites when you’ve got JS enabled that’s when the Bold really starts to choke. Can you confirm (try visiting a website that is JS heavy)?

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Simon Sage

    Hey Neil!

    Good to hear from ya – what happened to DevBerry?

    In the video tests, JS is disabled, but I had a go with it on while visiting the same sites, and ultimately had the same results. Scripts do tack on a little bit more time though, for sure… give me a site you’d like to see tested, and I’ll give you a time.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Simon Sage

    Hey Neil!

    Good to hear from ya – what happened to DevBerry?

    In the video tests, JS is disabled, but I had a go with it on while visiting the same sites, and ultimately had the same results. Scripts do tack on a little bit more time though, for sure… give me a site you’d like to see tested, and I’ll give you a time.

  • Aaron

    Try testing http://www.tsn.ca on both devices.

  • Aaron

    Try testing http://www.tsn.ca on both devices.

  • Aaron

    Try testing http://www.tsn.ca on both devices.

  • Greg Myers

    Hi Simon,
    In preliminary testing, we have had the totally opposite results. Bold seems to be quicker than the iPhone 3G by 2 to 3 seconds.
    Will get further details and forward them to you.
    Kindest Regards,
    Greg Myers,
    BerryReview.

  • http://BerryReview Greg Myers

    Hi Simon,
    In preliminary testing, we have had the totally opposite results. Bold seems to be quicker than the iPhone 3G by 2 to 3 seconds.
    Will get further details and forward them to you.
    Kindest Regards,
    Greg Myers,
    BerryReview.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ BlackBerry Cool

    @Greg,

    Interesting! We ran one test where the Bold beat out the iPhone on 3G, but noticed a reception-bar discrepancy between the two. It’s been all iPhone since then.

    Regardless, it’s very close, and doesn’t affect the browsing experience as much as a full, touchscreen does.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com BlackBerry Cool

    @Greg,

    Interesting! We ran one test where the Bold beat out the iPhone on 3G, but noticed a reception-bar discrepancy between the two. It’s been all iPhone since then.

    Regardless, it’s very close, and doesn’t affect the browsing experience as much as a full, touchscreen does.

  • Carnell W

    I bet Opera Mini on the bold would serve up the iphone.

  • Carnell W

    I bet Opera Mini on the bold would serve up the iphone.

  • http://www.videos4blackberry.info/ Bla1ze

    Lol, you all need to ask Kevin over at CrackBerry about the JavaScript issue…2 devices…exact same issue as Neil stated…device chokes hard core with JS enabled…WiFi browser is slower then 3G..which is just NOT right…I’m kinda glad I can’t afford a bold just yet, maybe by the time I can the bugs will be fully worked out.

  • http://www.videos4blackberry.info Bla1ze

    Lol, you all need to ask Kevin over at CrackBerry about the JavaScript issue…2 devices…exact same issue as Neil stated…device chokes hard core with JS enabled…WiFi browser is slower then 3G..which is just NOT right…I’m kinda glad I can’t afford a bold just yet, maybe by the time I can the bugs will be fully worked out.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ BlackBerry Cool

    @Bla1ze,

    Just got off the phone with Kevin. We’re going to do some more testing with him to get to the bottom of this.

    Stay tuned.

    @Carnell,

    Opera Mini is fast on the Bold, but you can’t tell what you’re looking at until you zoom in, so the only thing it’s serving is annoyance.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ BlackBerry Cool

    @Bla1ze,

    Just got off the phone with Kevin. We’re going to do some more testing with him to get to the bottom of this.

    Stay tuned.

    @Carnell,

    Opera Mini is fast on the Bold, but you can’t tell what you’re looking at until you zoom in, so the only thing it’s serving is annoyance.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com BlackBerry Cool

    @Bla1ze,

    Just got off the phone with Kevin. We’re going to do some more testing with him to get to the bottom of this.

    Stay tuned.

    @Carnell,

    Opera Mini is fast on the Bold, but you can’t tell what you’re looking at until you zoom in, so the only thing it’s serving is annoyance.

  • http://www.covert-hypnosis.org/ Chris

    iPhone definitely seems faster from my perspective also. My Bold chokes on Javascript.

  • http://www.covert-hypnosis.org Chris

    iPhone definitely seems faster from my perspective also. My Bold chokes on Javascript.

  • http://www.videos4blackberry.info/ Bla1ze

    @BlackBerry Cool

    Awesome, with all the troubles arising at this point..glad to see that the BB community is actually getting involved to try and sort things out, just really seems like it shouldn’t have gotten to that point…hopefully RIM will actually step in here and help out with these issues as well, just a shame this “testing” seems to have been sacrificed for the sake of getting a device out the door..in other words…sacrificed for the almighty dollar imo…even with RIM’s development dept stating stability was more of an issue then speed..seems like their was still plenty of time for testing the speed factor here..especially with all the delays…but..I’m not a developer nor claim to know crap all about that stuff…just my 2 cents here for all it’s worth..on a lighter note…My curve works awesome, which is good since Rogers retention dept refuses to deal with me on any Bold pricing anymore lmao!!

  • http://www.videos4blackberry.info Bla1ze

    @BlackBerry Cool

    Awesome, with all the troubles arising at this point..glad to see that the BB community is actually getting involved to try and sort things out, just really seems like it shouldn’t have gotten to that point…hopefully RIM will actually step in here and help out with these issues as well, just a shame this “testing” seems to have been sacrificed for the sake of getting a device out the door..in other words…sacrificed for the almighty dollar imo…even with RIM’s development dept stating stability was more of an issue then speed..seems like their was still plenty of time for testing the speed factor here..especially with all the delays…but..I’m not a developer nor claim to know crap all about that stuff…just my 2 cents here for all it’s worth..on a lighter note…My curve works awesome, which is good since Rogers retention dept refuses to deal with me on any Bold pricing anymore lmao!!

  • Neil

    Hi Simon,

    Yeah, you should definitely throw up some videos with JS enabled for both devices! Can’t think of any particular sites to hit up off the top of my head, but the major news sites are usually big offenders…

    What happened to DevBerry? Realization that you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink.

  • Neil

    Hi Simon,

    Yeah, you should definitely throw up some videos with JS enabled for both devices! Can’t think of any particular sites to hit up off the top of my head, but the major news sites are usually big offenders…

    What happened to DevBerry? Realization that you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink.

  • Neil

    Hi Simon,

    Yeah, you should definitely throw up some videos with JS enabled for both devices! Can’t think of any particular sites to hit up off the top of my head, but the major news sites are usually big offenders…

    What happened to DevBerry? Realization that you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink.

  • http://cutter.net/ Jeff Cutter

    Simon – I can’t believe you actually hit alt-period to get a period… thought you guys were efficiency experts.

    Just hit the space bar to get a period in the browser (similarly just hit the space to get both and @ and period in email addresses)

  • http://cutter.net/ Jeff Cutter

    Simon – I can’t believe you actually hit alt-period to get a period… thought you guys were efficiency experts.

    Just hit the space bar to get a period in the browser (similarly just hit the space to get both and @ and period in email addresses)

  • http://cutter.net Jeff Cutter

    Simon – I can’t believe you actually hit alt-period to get a period… thought you guys were efficiency experts.

    Just hit the space bar to get a period in the browser (similarly just hit the space to get both and @ and period in email addresses)

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Simon Sage

    @Jeff Hehe, yeah, I know, there are still some shortcuts that I haven’t quite drilled into my head yet.

    @Neil Doug ran a bunch of JavaScript tests last night, we’ll try to follow up with some video today.

    I hear ya on DevBerry… would have been nice to keep the site up to read the archives, in any case.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Simon Sage

    @Jeff Hehe, yeah, I know, there are still some shortcuts that I haven’t quite drilled into my head yet.

    @Neil Doug ran a bunch of JavaScript tests last night, we’ll try to follow up with some video today.

    I hear ya on DevBerry… would have been nice to keep the site up to read the archives, in any case.

  • Eric

    I love looking at the test , but please drop the music! dont need it and was a waste of my ears :). Thank you for showing the test anyway.I would like to see some more test v.s. the iphone on all things as in EXCEL WORD and so on(how does it look on the Bold.What about when you zoom on a page and move around a web page. Also fun things like pics, taking video(iphone can’t) and lets DO hear the music on the Bold. How are the speakers? The Moto Q is the loudest I’ve heard and 2nd would be the Curve, what about the Bold?

  • Eric

    I love looking at the test , but please drop the music! dont need it and was a waste of my ears :). Thank you for showing the test anyway.I would like to see some more test v.s. the iphone on all things as in EXCEL WORD and so on(how does it look on the Bold.What about when you zoom on a page and move around a web page. Also fun things like pics, taking video(iphone can’t) and lets DO hear the music on the Bold. How are the speakers? The Moto Q is the loudest I’ve heard and 2nd would be the Curve, what about the Bold?

  • http://Christopheraceto.com/ Chris

    I too have tested the iphone 3G and the Bold side by side. the iPhone is actually far superior in performance. Sadly, I am Blackberry fan who has recently switched over to the iPhone 3G. The iPhone has some serious flaws, especially for heavy business users, however, I am a web developer that enjoys the luxury of having an almost complete browser with me at all times. Side by side. The iPhone 3G will be my device of choice. At least until the javelin appears in Canada, hopefully before Christmas. Sorry RIM.

    http://www.christopheraceto.com for the review.

  • http://Christopheraceto.com Chris

    I too have tested the iphone 3G and the Bold side by side. the iPhone is actually far superior in performance. Sadly, I am Blackberry fan who has recently switched over to the iPhone 3G. The iPhone has some serious flaws, especially for heavy business users, however, I am a web developer that enjoys the luxury of having an almost complete browser with me at all times. Side by side. The iPhone 3G will be my device of choice. At least until the javelin appears in Canada, hopefully before Christmas. Sorry RIM.

    http://www.christopheraceto.com for the review.